Dunster First School

Expect the best in everything then play your part in achieving it

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Mr James, the Head of School and I are delighted to welcome you to Dunster First School website. Our school is steeped in history and located in a most beautiful part of the world. We are incredibly lucky having access to such a wonderful surrounding area, from the stunning local woodland and moorland, to the heritage of the castle. We are a happy, kind and caring school, at the heart of this supportive community, a school that insists on putting children at the heart of all we do. Our children are, as are children the world over, beautiful, intelligent, funny, creative, thoughtful, intuitive and truly amazing. We cherish their differences and want for them to find their element to be truly happy and excel. My staff and I have a simple mantra which we refer back to: ‘what is best for the children’ this we work by and live by. We have a family ethos where we ensure that our values are intrinsically imbedded throughout our entire school.


Our philosophy for ensuring rapid progress in learning is simple common sense: Children must feel safe to learn, they have to be confident to try, resilient in overcoming difficulties, and they have to be happy in their social environment. We help them develop these feelings and attributes by planning to teach the whole child. Children want to be rewarded for what is important, such as being kind and achieving by trying, therefore recognition is built in and shared regularly with parents. This philosophy is echoed in our ethos, in our behaviour for learning strategies, in our assemblies and even at lunchtime; we view every part of everyday as an opportunity for a child to learn. Equally, we recognise our planning as adults is limited; we are of a different era (even our younger staff!) and the unique children, whom we have been entrusted to nurture, often take learning in directions that could never be planned for. We celebrate this child orientated approach and encourage learning through play, real experience and social interaction, we actively plan for moments for children to lead their own learning as these bright young minds never fail to surprise us in their innate ability to reason, solve and learn.


Our curriculum and approach is bespoke to each individual child, including our transition programmes. Plus, we ensure a wide variety of experiences for every child in order for them to find ‘their element’ and succeed. Your child is so precious, as parents ourselves, we know just how much you entrust us with when you choose our school. We value all our children, every one of them is a hope for a bright future. Your child really does matter, and the education of your child is of critical importance to all of us.


I hope you enjoy looking around our website, we update it regularly, and we welcome visitors anytime to look around or chat to us. My team and I believe that schools and children are truly successful when the community works in partnership as a critical friend, as school guardians, to move the standards of education consistently upwards through constructive and supportive dialogue. We have an excellent ‘Friends of Dunster School’ group who work with us extensively on key community events and they would be keen to welcome more members into this fun team. We are also very proud to be part of the Moorland Federation, a group of schools with a shared passion for educating the whole child.  This welcoming federation means our pupils and staff get to strategically benefit from this wider educational family.  In the Moorland Federation currently are the First schools in: Dunster, Porlock, Exford, Cutcombe and Timberscombe.  Dunster First School enjoys working collaboratively with all the schools in West Somerset and many beyond, our furthest link school being in Peru!  Please do not hesitate to contact us should you wish to see first-hand our wonderful school.

Mrs Naomi Philp

Executive Head teacher